Founder of crypto exchange dies taking only password (and $190M) with him

Did QuadrigaCX lie about its back up wallets in order to liquidate

Gerald Cotten died aged 30 from complications with Crohn's disease while volunteering at an orphanage in India, according to the Facebook page of Quadriga CX, which announced his death on January 14.

The debt filing comes weeks after Robertson announced that Cotten had died - an event she described as "a shock to all of us".

QuadrigaCX, which filed for bankruptcy protection in the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia on January 31, was created to "simplify the process of buying and selling" the bitcoin cryptocurrency, according to a cached version of its website.

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Robertson said in the affidavit that Cotten's main computer contained a "cold wallet" of cryptocurrencies, which is only accessible physically and not online, and his death left "in excess of C$180 million of coins in cold storage".

As customers panicked and tried to withdraw their funds, QuadrigaCX went off the grid. As reported by NewsBTC a year ago, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) froze five accounts that were linked to Costodian Inc., Quadriga's payment processor, and Jose Reyes, its owner.

The company hired an investigator to see if any information could be retrieved but ongoing efforts have had only "limited success in recovering a few coins" and some information from Cotten's computer and phone.

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The debacle highlights the problems with cryptocurrency's lack of regulation.

The mysterious circumstances surrounding Cotten's death have spawned many conspiracy theories, especially on Reddit, where several users have suggested that Cotten is faking his death as part of an exit scam.

The problem is, Robertson said she can't find his passwords or any business records for the company.

Cryptocurrency exchanges such as QuadrigaCX operate as quasi-banks and have none of the safeguards of regular banks.

The company is also reportedly considering selling off its operating platform to pay users back.

"After Gerry's death, Quadriga's inventory of cryptocurrency has become unavailable and some of it may be lost", Robertson said, adding that the company's access to currency has been "severely compromised" and the firm has been unable to negotiate bank drafts provided by different payment processors.

QuadrigaCX, at a court hearing set for Tuesday, is expected to ask a judge to appoint Ernst & Young as an overseer for its financial issues.

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